FM19 League & Club Info: Brazil Serie A

Welcome back to our Football Manager 2019: League & Club Info A-Z. Next up is the Brazilian Leagues beginning with Serie A and working our way down to Serie C. There has been a hefty break since completed the Belgian Leagues nearly 2 months ago. This has been mainly sure to work commitments, other projects as my need to actually understand the Brazilian structure myself.

Brasileirão Assaí – Série A

The Brasileirão Assaí – Série A is the top level league is the Brazilian football league system and is the country’s primary football competition. The league comprises of 20 clubs and operates on a promotion and relegation system with the Brasileirão Série B. The Brasileirão Assaí – Série A is one of the strongest leagues in the world with 10 World Club Cup titles among 6 teams and the second-most Copa Libertadores titles with 17 won among 10 teams. The league is also one of the most watched it the American and most exposed as it is broadcasted in 155 nations as well the as being the sixth richest league with a value of over $1.4billion.

Competition Format

There are currently 20 clubs in the Serie A. With the league running from May until December each clubs plays twice once and home and once away for a total of 38 games apiece across the season. As usual, teams receive 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw and 0 for a loss. The league standings are based upon total points, victories, goal difference and goal scored. A system of promotion and relegation exists between Serie A and Serie B. The four lowest placed teams in Serie A are relegated to Serie B and the top four teams in Serie B are promoted to Serie A.

From 2016, Brazil’s top six club are entered in the following years’ Copa Libertadores with the top four earning a berth in the Group Stages and the 5th and 6th placed teams entering at the Second Round and are required to win 2 knockout games to enter the Group Stage. Brazil clubs can also quality by winning the domestic cup competition – Copa do Brasil – or one of the continental competitions – Copa Sudamericana or Copa Libertadores itself. If the Copa do Brasil, Sudamericana or Libertadores winner also finishes in the top 6 in the league; the remaining Libertadores places go to the next best placed club in the league. This would mean that 7th, 8th or 9th places could qualify for the Copa Libertadores First Round.

Also from 2016, clubs from 7th to 12th quality for the Copa Sudamericana in the following year. With the same rules as the Libertadores; it is possible for 13th, 14th and 15th placed clubs to quality for the Sudamericana. With this, Brazil quality a minimum of 12 and maximum of 15 clubs for continental competition in that season.

League Rules

As mentioned about, the league runs from May to December, consisting of 20 teams who play 38 games each. Each match day squad can have no more than 5 foreign players as well as no more than 5 players on youth contracts. 12 substitutes can be named with a maximum of 3 used. The league sorting rules are based on this order: Games Won, Goal Difference, Goals Scored, Results Between Teams, Number of Red Card and finally Number of Yellow Cards. The Serie A does also include a Prize Money based on final positions in the table ranging from £3.38million for winning the league to £139k for finishing 16th. No prize money is awarded for team placed 17th to 20th. The bottom four teams are relegated to the Serie B.

For the 2018 season, due to Grêmio winning the Copa Libertadores and Cruzeiro the Copa do Brasil and both teams finishing in the top 6th – 4th and 5th respectively – this awarded two further Libertadores spots to the 7th and 8th placed Serie A teams – Vasco and Chapecoense. With this the top 5 qualify for the Libertadores Group Stage and 6th and 7th the Second Qualifying Round. Teams placed 8th to 13th quality for the Sudamericana Preliminary Round.

In regards to contract renewals, players under the age of 24 must be offered similar terms before the first Saturday in May or seven days after their last match in the season (whichever comes later) otherwise no compensation will be due if they sign for other clubs. There is a £45 minimum wage rule for full time players over the age of 16.

Serie A transfer windows run from December to September for domestic transfers only, beginning of January to the end of April for foreign transfers only; and 15th July to the 15th August also for foreign transfers only. Players of Haitian nationality are treated as non-foreign.

The Clubs

América Futebol Clube (MG)

América Futebol Clube (MG) was founded on April 30th 1912. The club was founded by a group of children between the ages of 11 and 13 held a draw to chose the name of a new club to be based in Minas Gerais with the name drawn by the only girl of the group Alda Meira – sister of Adhemar de Meira who was one of the club founders. The colours green and white were also chosen by drawing lots with black added a year later.

The club went through a period of huge achievement between 1916 and 1925 where they won the Mineiro Championship 10 years running and has been recorded in the Guiness World Book of Records.

The club will the playing in Serie A this season for only the second year in the history after a miraculous promotion last season saw them return to the top after a 20 year spell languishing in the second tier. 22,481 supporters filled the stadium – a club record – to witness the clubs promotion.

Club Website:

Clube Atlético Mineiro

Clube Atlético Mineiro was founded on 25th March 1908 by students who were gathered in to Belo Horizonte City Park, the club has gone on to become one of the world’s best football clubs. Throughout its history, Galo has been a widely popular team, which has massively helped with its tremendous growth. The winning spirit within the club began with their very first game on 21 March 1909 when they beat Sport Club Futebol 3-0 away from home. The clubs first goal was scored by Anibal Machado who would later go on to become one of the greatest Brazilian writers.

The Rooster (Galo) become the club’s mascot at the end of the 1930’s with the inspiration coming from a black and white rooster which was unbeatable at the city’s cockfights of the time. In 1945, cartoonist Fernando Pieruccetti, known as “Mangabeira”, was assigned to draw Clube Atlético Mineiro mascot at the request of the editor of the Folha de Minas newspaper.


Mangabeira drew the strong and avenger Rooster (Galo forte e vingador) after the team and its fans’ characteristics, those which represented both the team’s bravery at the eld and its fans in the stands. “Atletico has always been a brave team. It seems like a gamecock that will never give up”, said the cartoonist at the time.

Club Website:

Clube Atlético Paranaense

Clube Atlético Paranaense was founded on 26th March 1924 following the merger of two traditional club in Curitiba at the time – International Football Club and Amerca Futebol Clube. Their first match was played 11 day later where the team ran out 4-2 victors over Universal FC. The club have had a storied domestic and regional success with many competition wins over this history with their only continental success being this the 2018 Copa Sudamericana which they won.

Originally in 1924 Athlético used to play using a horizontally striped in red and black shirt, along with white shorts and red and black socks. Some versions of the clubs history state in 1989 the clubs owners decided they wanted to take another direction and differentiate from the other Brazil teams that also wore black and red horizontal stripes, so they changed to vertical striped instead.

This month (December 2018) the club have also moved in a direction of changed the club’s crest to be four alternating red and black diagonal stripes which decreased in size from top to bottom, resembling a hurricane, echoing the club’s nickname as well as changing the club name to its original name in the Portuguese orthography when it was founded, ‘Club Athletico Paranaense’. Neither of these changes have yet to be implemented in FM.

Club Website:

Esporte Clube Bahia

On December 8, 1930, the day of Our Lady of the Conception of Praia, four former players of the Bahian Tennis Club, as well as one from the Associação Atlética da Bahia, in a casual meeting at Cabaret do Jokey in Salvador, discuss the formation of a new soccer team. The group is unable to play the sport they love because the clubs they defended had resolved to do away with their football departments. Four days later, more than 70 people, mostly former AAB and Bahiano athletes, meet to set the course for the new club. The assembly is presided over by Otavio Carvalho and secretariat by Fernando Tude and Aroldo Maia.

At that meeting, the colors of Bahia are defined for the new club (white shirt and blue shorts with a red band at the waist). Otavio Carvalho is provisionally appointed president. On January 1, 1931, Esporte Clube Bahia was founded, under the slogan “Born to Win”, in a meeting at 57 Rua Carlos Gomes, in Salvador. with presence of liberal professionals, public officials, journalists, microentrepreneurs and students. The doctor Waldemar Costa is the first president.

The club has won 2 Brazilian, 7 Regional and 47 State Championships over the course of their history.

Club Website:

Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas

Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas was founded on 12th August 1904 as the Electro Club. The club was devised by two friends during class at the School Alfredo Gomes. Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas was officially founded on 8th December 1942 as a result of the merger of two clubs with the same name; Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas and Botafogo Football Club.

The Lone Star (Estrela Solitária) is currently present in Botafogo’s flag and crest. This star was the principal symbol of Club de Regatas Botafogo. After the two Botafogos merged, the Lone Star became one of the most important symbols of Botafogo’s football team. The old flag of Club de Regatas Botafogo was white with a small black square which contained the Lone Star. The Football Club had a flag with nine black and white stripes with the club’s crest localized in the center. Botafogo de Futebol e Regatas then based its flag on that of the two old clubs. The flag has five black and four white stripes, with a black square at the upper left side with the Lone Star.

In addition, the club has some of Brazilian football’s top records, as the largest number of unbeaten matches: 52 games between 1977 and 1978; the matches unbeaten record in the Brazilian Championship games: 42, also between 1977 and 1978; the largest number of player participations in total matches of the Brazil national football team (considering official and unofficial games): 1,094 participations and the largest number of players assigned to the Brazilian national team for World Cup. The club is still responsible for the greatest victory ever recorded in Brazilian football: 24-0 against Sport Club Mangueira in 1909.

Club Website:

Ceará Sporting Club

Ceará Sporting Club was founded on June 2, 1914, by youngsters Luís Esteves Júnior and Pedro Freire, during an afternoon meeting at Café Art Noveau, which operated in Ferreira Square. At this meeting, they decided to invite a few more friends to discuss the idea and to meet at the residence of Luís Esteves – located at Rua Tristão Gonçalves, 6.

From 1915 to 1919, Ceará was five time consecutive champion of the Torneios Metropolitanos. In 1941, Ceará won the Campeonato Cearense, the same year of the inauguration of Presidente Vargas stadium. From 1961 to 1963, the club was three times consecutive state champion. In 1969, Ceará won the Northeast Cup. In 2010, after a 17-year absence, Ceará was promoted back to the Brazilian League, after finishing third in the 2009 Campeonato Brasileiro Série B. They finished in 12th position, achieving a place in the 2011 Copa Sudamericana.

Club Website:

Associação Chapecoense de Futebol

Associação Chapecoense de Futebol (Chapecoense Football Association) was founded on May 10, 1973, and it is currently the largest, most successful and well-structured professional football team in the western region of Santa Catarina. Its origin is linked to the fact that, in the 1970s, the region only had a few amateur teams, which were insignificant in relation to professional football.

Chapecoense competed in the Série A for the first time since 1979 in 2014, as the club was promoted after they and Bragantino drew 1–1, in Chapecó, for the 2013 Série B. Winning important points during its first season in the top flight, Chape cemented a place in the 2015 Série A, its second season in a row in the first division.

In 2016, Chapecoense made history when they reached the finals of the Copa Sudamericana, South America’s secondary club football tournament, after defeating San Lorenzo de Almagro using the away goals rule. They were awarded the title following a disastrous plane crash which killed the majority of their squad on the way to the final. As Copa Sudamericana champions, Chapecoense qualified for the 2017 Copa Libertadores, their first appearance in that tournament. With a squad built up from loan players, free signings and promoted youth players, as well as two survivors of the crash, they won their first match in an away game at Zulia of Venezuela.

On the evening of 28 November 2016, LaMia Flight 2933, carrying 77 people, including the staff and players from the club, crashed as it approached Medellín, Colombia; 71 people died (including 21 journalists and almost the entire first team and managerial staff) and 6 survived, according to the BBC. The surviving players were left-back Alan Ruschel,[ backup goalkeeper Jakson Follmann, (who had one of his legs amputated due to his injuries and was forced to retire from professional football),and center-back Neto. Goalkeeper Danilo initially survived the crash, but later died before arriving to the hospital. Chapecoense goalkeeper Nivaldo, who did not board the flight, soon after announced his immediate retirement from football.

Club Website:

Sport Club Corinthians Paulista

At 8:30 p.m. on September 1, at the corner of José Paulino and Cônego Martins streets, in the Bom Retiro neighborhood, the group of workers formed by Anselmo Corrêa, Antônio Pereira, Carlos Silva, Joaquim Ambrósio and Raphael Perrone founded the Sport Club Corinthians Paulista. With eight other boys, a meeting of the first members and founders of Timão was formed, which was inspired by the English team Corinthian-Casuals Football Club, who toured Brazil. The president chosen by them was the tailor Miguel Battaglia, who, in the first moment, said: “Corinthians will be the team of the people and the people are who will make the team”. A land rented in Rua José Paulino was planed, turned field and it was there that, on September 14, the first training was done before an enthusiastic audience,

Sport Club Corinthians Paulista are one of the most successful clubs in Brazil with 7 Serie A titles, 3 Copa do Brasil titles, 1 Supercopa do Brasil title and 1 Serie B title domestically alongside 29 Campeonato Paulista titles and 5 Torneio Rio-São Paulo titles regionally. For continental success, Sport Club Corinthians Paulista have one the Club World Cup twice, Copa Libertadores once and the Copa Sudamericana also once.

Club Website:

Cruzeiro Esporte Clube

Cruzeiro Esporte Clube was founded on January 2, 1921 when sportsmen from the Italian colony of Belo Horizonte, some members of Yale Atlético Clube and many Italian immigrant workers decided to create a new club called Societá Sportiva Palestra Italia. As a result of the Second World War, the Brazilian federal government banned the use of any symbols referring to the Axis powers in 1942. The club board members rebaptized the club with the name of a leading national symbol: the Cruzeiro do Sul’s constellation.

Cruzeiro is one of Brazil’s most successful clubs despite its relatively young age (compared with other major Brazilian clubs). It won the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A for the first time in 1966, after defeating Santos’ Os Santásticos in the final series.[ Cruzeiro has won the Brasileirão again in 2003, 2013 and 2014, obtaining the best campaign in the present format of the competition. Cruzeiro has also won record six Copa do Brasil titles and the Campeonato Mineiro 37 times. Cruzeiro won the defunct state competitions Taça Minas Gerais five times, the Copa dos Campeões Mineiros twice, Copa Sul Minas twice, the Torneio Início 10 times and the Supercampeonato Mineiro once. A Raposa also obtained many international laurels such as two Copa Libertadores, two Supercopa Libertadores, one Recopa Sudamericana, one Copa de Oro and one Copa Master de Supercopa. Cruzeiro is the only Brazilian club to complete the Domestic Treble, a feat accomplished in 2003 after winning the Campeonato Mineiro, the 2003 Copa do Brasil and the 2003 Brasileirão.

Club Website:

Clube de Regatas do Flamengo

Clube de Regatas do Flamengo was established in 1895, although it did not play its first official football match until 1912. Flamengo is one of the most successful clubs in Brazilian football, having won 5 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A titles (and the controversial Copa União of 1987), three Copa do Brasil titles, one Copa Intercontinental, one Copa Libertadores and holds a record of 34 Campeonato Carioca trophies. Due to its low capacity, Flamengo’s home stadium, Gávea, hasn’t been used in official matches since 1997 and the club usually opts for the Maracanã, the biggest football stadium in Brazil, with a capacity of 78,838. Since 2016, the club have been playing most home games at the Ilha do Urubu, a temporary home until a favorable deal is made with the Maracanã stadium’s administration.

Flamengo is the most popular team in Brazil, with over 39.1 million supporters as of 2010, and was voted by FIFA as one of the most successful football clubs of the 20th century. It is also the Brazil’s richest football club in terms of revenue, with an annual revenue of R$648.0 million in 2017, and the most valuable club in Brazil, worth over R$1.69 billion in 2017.[8] The club has long-standing rivalries with nearby neighbors Fluminense, Botafogo and Vasco da Gama. There is also an interstate rivalry with Atlético Mineiro and a fierce one with Corinthians.

Club Website:

Fluminense Football Club

Founded on 21st July 1902, Fluminense Football Club was the first Brazilian club to carry football in its name and has become one of the most popular in the country. A pioneer in sports, Fluminense FC spearheaded the creation of football leagues and tournaments, which influenced the formation of new teams and of the Brazilian National Team – the Seleção.  The historical Laranjeiras Stadium, inaugurated in 1919, was essential for making football popular in Brazil. In 1949, the International Olympic Committee recognized Fluminense FC as the most complete sports institution in the world, honoring the club with the Olympic Cup. The World Club Championship of 1952 and 5 national championships are among Fluminense FC’s most important conquers. As said by playwright Nelson Rodrigues, “you can’t walk around Fluminense without stumbling into glory”.

The supporters of Fluminense Football Club are usually related to the upper classes of Rio de Janeiro. However, the popularity of the club reaches beyond the city limits. Recent polls have estimated the number of supporters to be between 1.3% and 3.7% of the Brazilian population. Considering a population of 185 million people, that would account for numbers between 2.73 and 6.84 million. The best attendance ever observed in a match of Fluminense was registered on 15 December 1963 in a rally against Flamengo. On that day, an impressive number of 194,000 people showed up at Maracanã stadium. This occasion remains as the stadium’s record for a match between clubs.[

Club Website:

Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense

On September 7, 1903, Brazil’s first football team, Rio Grande, played an exhibition match in Porto Alegre. An entrepreneur from Sorocaba, São Paulo, named Cândido Dias was besotted with the sport and went to watch the match. During the match, the ball deflated. As the only owner of a football in Porto Alegre, he lent his ball to the players and the match resumed. After the match, he talked to the local players about how to start a football club. On September 15, 1903, 32 people, including Cândido Dias, met at Salão Grau, a local restaurant and founded “Grêmio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense”.

The club’s first match took place on March 6, 1904, against Fuss Ball Porto Alegre, the first of two matches played that day. Grêmio won the first match 1–0. Unfortunately, the name of the player who scored the club’s first goal is lost to history. The trophy Grêmio won that day, the Wander Preis, is still displayed at the club’s museum. Within 5 months the club had inaugurated the Baixada, its first home.

Gremio are one of it not the most successful club in Brazil. Domestically, the club has won two Serie A title, one Serie B title, five Copa do Brasil titles and one Supercopa do Brasil title. Regionally, the club has won one Copa Sul title, one Campeonato Sul-Brasileiro title, 37 Campeonato Gaucho titles, one Copa FGF and 28 Campeonato Citadino de Porto Alegre titles. On the Continental stage the club has won one InterContinental Cup title, three Copa Libertadores titles (Brazilian Record) and two Copa Sudamericana titles.

Club Website:

Sport Club Internacional

The italian descendants brothers Henrique, José and Luis Poppe were responsible for founding Sport Club Internacional. The greatest difficulty encountered by the Poppes, when they moved from São Paulo to Porto Alegre in 1901, was finding a club that allowed them to play football. At the time there were only two clubs in the city (Fussball and Grêmio Porto Alegrense), and both were private clubs for those of German ancestry. In 1909 the Poppes convened a group of students and others from Porto Alegre to a meeting on April 4, 1909, at 141 Redenção Avenue (now 1025 João Pessoa Avenue) with the objective of founding a new football club. Thus began the history of Sport Club Internacional.

Perhaps no other time is remembered with more affection and longing by the Internacional supporters than the victorious Seventies. In that decade, Inter became the most successful club in Rio Grande do Sul and in Brazil. The new Beira-Rio stadium met the expectations of the fanatic crowd, and was the stage for some of the best years in Internacional’s history. In 1975, after a thrilling victory against Cruzeiro at Beira-Rio, the Colorados secured the Brazilian championship title. The only goal of the match was scored by Chilean star defender Elías Figueroa, with the so-called illuminated goal. The first golden star was now on the chest of every Colorado.

In the 1980s Internacional enhanced its international stature. Led by legends such as Falcão, Edevaldo and Batista, Internacional reached the final of the Copa Libertadores in 1980 where they were grouped in Group 3 alongside compatriots Vasco da Gama and Venezuelan sides Deportivo Galicia and Deportivo Táchira. Internacional finished first in their group with four wins, one tie and one loss (although the defeat surprisingly came from Deportivo Galicia). In the semi-finals stage, the Colorados were grouped with Argentine side Vélez Sarsfield and Colombian powerhouse América de Cali; once again, Inter managed to top the group with two victories over Velez and two draws against America (which was enough to see them reach the final). In the finals, Internacional faced off against Nacional, who had already won the Copa Libertadores once in 1971. The Colorado couldn’t break the Uruguayan backline and the first leg, played at the Beira-Rio, finished 0–0. At the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo, Inter were defeated 1–0. Despite losing Internacional’s most important match ever, it set a precedent of great moments to come in this decade, as the team went on to win the Campeonato Gaúcho four years in a row starting in 1981.

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Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras

The club was founded on August 26, 1914, as Palestra Italia, but changed to the current name on September 14, 1942. It is a popular and successful Brazilian club, with around 18 million supporters and 126,000 season ticket holders, including a large number of Brazilians of Italian ancestry. Palmeiras has won 14 national competitions, which makes it the most successful club inside Brazil. The club’s most important titles are one Intercontinental World Club Tournament (Copa Rio), one Copa Libertadores, 10 Brazilian National Leagues (Campeonato Brasileiro Série A), three Brazil Cups (Copa do Brasil), one Champions Cup (Copa dos Campeões) and one South American Cup (Copa Mercosul), as well as five Interstate titles (Torneio Rio – São Paulo), 23 State Championship titles (Campeonato Paulista) and three Ramón de Carranza Trophy titles.

Famous coach Luiz Felipe Scolari led the team to one of the club’s most important titles: The 1999 Libertadores Cup. The final match was against Deportivo Cali from Colombia. Important players from that team were World Cup winners Marcos, Zinho and Roque Júnior, as well as Alex, Evair, Paulo Nunes and César Sampaio. In the first leg, in Cali, Deportivo beat Palmeiras 1–0. In the second leg, at Estádio Palestra Itália, Palmeiras beat Deportivo 2–1 and won the competition in the penalty shootout.

Club Website:

Paraná Clube

On the 19th of December, 1989, Paraná Clube was founded by the merger of EC Pinheiros (three times winner of the state championship (1967 as Savóia FC Água Verde, 1984, 1987)), and Colorado EC (winner of one state championship (1980)). The club’s first match was played on February 4, 1990, when Coritiba beat Paraná 1–0 at the Estádio Couto Pereira. In 1991, two years after the club’s foundation, Paraná won its first state championship. Later, Paraná would win five state championships in a row, from 1993 to 1997.

The club’s logo has a stylized conifer cone format, in red, with a white contour, which contains an azure jay and a white pine. The club’s name is written in blue, as is the word Brasil. The word Clube is written in white. Paraná’s flag is rectangular, divided in two equal parts vertically. The right side is red and the left side is blue. The mascot of Paraná Clube is an azure jay, a common bird in Paraná state. The bird is also the symbol of Paraná state. Paraná Clube’s colors are red, blue and white. The red color was Colorado’s main color, the blue color was Pinheiros’ main color, and white was a color adopted by both teams.

Club Website:

Santos Futebol Clube

Santos Futebol Clube was founded on the initiative of three sportsmen of the city, Francisco Raymundo Marques, Mário Ferraz de Campos and Argemiro de Souza Júnior. They invited all those interested to participate in the inaugural meeting of the new club, which was set up to be used for football practice, which at the beginning of the last century was crawling in Brazil. The historic meeting took place on Sunday afternoon, April 14, 1912, at the Concordia Club headquarters, on the former Rosário street, 18 (now Rua João Pessoa, 8/10). All 39 participants of this meeting are considered as founding members.

On the day of the foundation, the name of the entity was suggested by Edmundo Jorge de Araújo: Santos Foot-Ball Club and the colors of the uniforms of the new association, to be presided over in the first year of existence by Sizino Patusca, were blue and white, with golden threads between them. On 31 March of the following year the colors of the Club, at Paul Peluccio’s suggestion, became white trousers and a striped shirt in white and black. The Club Deliberative Council began on January 28, 1932 and the first president was Flaminio Levy.

After 50 years Santos began to be seen as the best team in the world. When Pelé made his debut in the Campeonato Paulista in 1957, the team was already twice state champion (1955/56). The King had as fellow players Zito, Pagão, Formiga, Hélvio, Jair da Rosa Pinto, Urubatão, Tite and Pepe. Santos won the third state title in 50 years, the magical year of 1958 – in which Brazil won the World Cup in Sweden, with Zito Santos, Pelé and Pepe, and won in spectacular fashion. Santos scored 143 goals in 38 games, averaging 3.76 per game, and conceded only 40 goals. Pelé set a record that has never been equaled in any state competition in the country: he scored no less than 58 goals. Santos’ traditional rivals were heavily beaten in 1958, particularly a 10–0 win against the Nacional. In addition to state titles, Santos won the Rio-São Paulo in 1959, beating Vasco in the final by 3–0 with two goals by Coutinho, who was only 16 years old. Coutinho also scored five goals against Ponte Preta, and Santos won the game by 12–1 even without Pelé.

No other team had a dominance in Brazilian football as great as Santos in the 1960s. The club won eight titles: six Brazilian Championships (five Taça Brasil and one Torneio Roberto Gomes Pedrosa), two Copas Libertadores, two Intercontinental Cups, three Rio-São Paulo, a South American Recopa, a World and numerous international tournaments. A poll in the magazine El Gráfico saw dozens of experts from South America and Europe choose the Santos side of 1962/63 as the best team of all time.

Club Website:

São Paulo Futebol Clube

Founded on January 25, 1930 and marked by stories of overcoming, such as the refoundation of the club in 1935 or the difficult times of the construction of Morumbi, the “Tricolor Most Beloved” is the only Brazilian club to have conquered America and the World three times. The club is still the only consecutive three-time champion of the Brazilian Championship and the first to win it six times.

n 1940, when the Estádio do Pacaembu was inaugurated, a new era began in São Paulo state football. São Paulo Futebol Clube finished as runners-up once again in the Campeonato Paulista in 1941, and a year later the club paid 200 and a year later the club paid 200 contos de réis (equivalent to approximately R$162,000 today) to acquire Leônidas from Flamengo. During this period, São Paulo also acquired the Argentinian António Sastre and Brazilians Noronha, José Carlos Bauer, Zezé Procópio, Luizinho, Rui and Teixeirinha. With these new additions, Tricolor became known as the Steam Roller, winning the Paulista championship five times, in 1943, 1945, 1946, 1948 and 1949. The club sold its Canindé training ground to Portuguesa to raise money for their new stadium the Estádio do Morumbi, for which construction began in 1952.

When Club Athletico Paulistano and Associação Atlética das Palmeiras merged, their colours (red and white for Paulistano and black and white for Palmeiras) were inherited by São Paulo. The colours match those of São Paulo’s state flag, and also represent the three main races that lived in Brazil during that period: the Native Americans (represented by the red), the Europeans (represented by the white) and the Africans (represented by the black). The club’s home strip is a white shirt, with two horizontal stripes at chest level, the upper one red and the lower one black, and with a badge in the centre of the chest. The shorts and socks are all-white. The away strip consists of a red shirt with red, black and white vertical stripes, black shorts and socks. The badge consists of a shield with a black rectangle in the upper section bearing the initials SPFC in white. Below the rectangle is a red, white and black triangle. The badge also has five stars, two gold and three red ones. The gold ones denote Adhemar Ferreira da Silva’s world and Olympic records and the red ones represents the three world championships won by São Paulo

Club Website:

Sport Club do Recife

Sport Club do Recife was founded in May 1903 by Guilherme de Aquino Fonseca, a member of a wealthy family in Pernambuco who found a love for football while studying engineering at the University of Cambridge. The club were the first recorded football club in the state of Pernambuco. Sport played their first match in 1905, drawing against a team called English Eleven. The Campeonato Pernambucano was established in 1916, and Sport won the competition’s first two titles. Sport Recife celebrated their 50th anniversary in 1955 by winning their 15th state title. As a result of a dispute with the Federação Pernambucana de Futebol (FPF), Sport did not participate in the 1978 Campeonato Pernambucano.

The 1987 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A resulted in Sport’s first national title. After topping group B in both the 1st and 2nd rounds Sport beat Bangu 5-4 on aggregate in the semi-final, and then Guarani 3-2 in the final. They qualified for the 1988 Copa Libertadores, but failed to qualify for the next stages of the competition, finishing in 15th place overall. Sport Club do Recife won the 1990 Série B. They drew 1-1 on aggregate with Atlético Paranaense in the final, but were awarded the title due to their better record across the season. Led by Givanildo Oliveira, Sport won the 1st Copa do Nordeste, beating hosts CRB-AL on penalties after a draw in normal time by 0–0.

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Club de Regatas Vasco da Gama

On August 21, 1898 in a room of the Sons of Talma Dramatic Society, with 62 members (mostly Portuguese immigrants), the Club de Regatas Vasco da Gama (Vasco da Gama Rowing Club) was born. Inspired by the celebrations of the 4th centenary of the first sail from Europe to India, the founders chose the name of the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama to baptise the new club. Football was included only with the fusion with Lusitania Clube, other mostly Portuguese immigrants club. Beginning in the smaller leagues, Vasco became champion of the Serie B in 1922 and ascended to Serie A. In its first championship in Serie A – in 1923, Vasco became champion with a team formed by whites, blacks and “mulatto” players of different social classes.

Football in Brazil back then was a sport for the elites, and Vasco da Gama’s racially diverse squad didn’t appease them. In 1924 Vasco da Gama was pressured by the Metropolitan League to ban some players that were not considered adequate to play in the aristocratic league, notably because they were black or mulato and/or poor. After Vasco refused to comply with such a ban, the other big teams, Fluminense, Flamengo and Botafogo, among others, created the Metropolitan Athletic Association and prohibited Vasco from participating unless it complied with the racist demands. The former President of Vasco, José Augusto Prestes, responded with a letter that became known as the Historic Answer (resposta histórica), which revolutionised the practice of sports in Brazil. After a few years, the racism barriers fell. Vasco da Gama had led the move toward a more inclusive football culture, forward-thinking not employed by leaders from Fluminense, Flamengo and Botafogo. Even though the club was not the first to field black players, it was the first one to win a league with them, which led to an outcry to ban “blue-collar workers” from playing in the league – a move that in practice meant barring blacks from playing. In 1925 Vasco was readmitted into the “elite” league, with its black and mulatto players. By 1933, when football became professional in Brazil, most of the big clubs had black players in them.

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Esporte Clube Vitória

The club was founded on May 13, 1899, by the brothers Artur and Artêmio Valente, along with seventeen other young fellows. They were from an old Bahia family, and discovered football during their studies in England. Initially Vitória was a cricket club, named Club de Cricket Victoria, because all of them lived at the Vitória neighborhood, in Salvador. On May 22, 1901, Vitória played its first football match, at Campo da Pólvora, against International Sport Club, a team whose players were English seamen. Vitória beat International 3–2. Two months after that match, Vitória changed its original colors, which were black and white, to red and black, which are still in use.

On September 13, 1903, Vitória beat a club formed by people from São Paulo state, São Paulo Bahia Football Club 2–0 in the club’s first official match. In 1908, Vitória won its first title ever, the Campeonato Baiano. They won the next year as well. From 1910 to 1952, they didn’t win any titles because they were still an amateur club. In 1953, the club turned professional, and won its third Baiano honor. Bahia was dominating the state championship, and Vitória only won titles in 1955, 1957, 1964, 1965, 1972, 1980, 1985 and 1989. The club was runner-up in the 1993 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A to Palmeiras, with an extremely small payroll. Vitória was champion of Bahia in 1990, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2000, becoming the top club of the state for the first time. In the 1999 Campeonato Brasileiro Série A, Vitória reached the semifinals.

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